BURPEES and BearCrawls



B – U – R – P – E – E – S Why? 

(Think “Bay City Rollers” as you say this!)


The other day, I was sitting inside my house, and as I looked outside I noticed that it was wet from the rain and there were leaves covering the ground.

Then it came to me…I wanted to get outside and play in the grass! I know, I know, it’s some sort of weird genetic problem that I have that makes me want to be outdoors.

You see, I grew up in the mountains of Idaho, and every day was an adventure outside. Whether it was hiking, mountain biking, or swimming in the rivers and ponds.

In fact, my buddies and I used to go camping almost every weekend. We would act like we were Special Forces operators and dress all in camouflage. Go into the woods and play a game. The goal was to not get caught by the “Enemy”. We would go to such extremes as to lay in swamps and conceal ourselves in the mud (Think “Predator”).

We had this other game that we played where we would pick who was going to be the runner, and then we would give them a head start. Then a group of us would chase him all over town, across creeks, golf courses, woods, through yards, etc.… until we caught them.

Sometimes we never did.

It was Obstacle Course Racing before anyone knew what obstacle course racing was.



Ok, so what does this have to do with BURPEES and Bear Crawls?


I’m glad you asked. The two movements that I found myself doing a lot during these games and camping trips was a bear crawl and a BURPEE.

We did the bear crawls to sneak around in the brush while still concealing ourselves. And the burpees were for when you had to make an explosive movement over a fence, a log, or to jump from a flat position to grab a branch and swing into a tree.

We used to have so much fun doing that stuff. I still love doing that kind of thing. I admit it…I love the mud, I love the dirt, and the sweat. The dirtier and sweatier I am, the better.

I don’t expect you to feel like that, or to agree with my… (*cough. Methods) but there are


How to Do A BURPEE:


Burpee Video Here

My first encounter with BURPEES was in 2001 at Navy RTC, Great Lakes, Chicago. Every morning at 4 a.m. we were out on the grinder doing flutter kicks, push-ups, sit-ups, and BURPEES, except we called them 4 count or 8 count body-builders. (Very Similar.) They were grueling and I always resented them.

Truth be told, I still do. 

BURPEES are like the uncle that you can't stand to be around, but he's always around, waiting to bother you. (I'm not doing a good job of selling them am I?)

The point is, they will make you a BEAST!

There are six basic steps to perform a BURPEE:

  1. Bend over or squat down and place your hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet.
  2. Jump both feet back so that you’re now in plank position.
  3. Drop to a push-up—your chest should touch the floor. You can also drop to your knees here, which makes the impending push-up easier.
  4. Push up to return to plank position (this can be a strict push-up, a push-up from the knees, or not a push-up at all (i.e., just push yourself up from the ground as you would if you weren’t working out)—your choice).
  5. Jump the feet back in toward the hands.
  6. Explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead.

How to Do A Bear Crawl:

lego bear crawl.png


They seem silly, right?

They aren't, they're beastly. I love them. If you do any sort of mountain climbing or hiking you will understand the power of this seemingly simple maneuver.

If you want to really build these muscles, try doing these other two workouts:


  • Kneel on hands and knees facing crawling path. Raise knees off of floor, but keep hips low.
  • Crawl forward while keeping hips low.


Here is a great workout that you can do to incorporate bear crawls:

 3 Rounds of:

  • 20 thrusters with 75#-95#
  •  15 box jumps 18" or higher
  •  50m bear crawl

Let me know how you are doing with your progress.



P.S. If you ever participate in any sort of obstacle course race, you will be more prepared by doing BURPEES and bear crawls.